Agenda item

Financial Health Monitoring and Collection Rates for Council Tax and Business Rates - 2020/21

To consider a report from the Head of Democratic Services that introduces information regarding the projected 2020/21 financial health position of those service areas that fall within the Board’s remit at Months 9 and 10. In addition an update position is provided on Council Tax and Business Rate collection rates in 2020/21.




The report of the Head of Democratic Services provided Board members with information regarding the projected 2020/21 financial health position of those service areas that fall within the Board’s remit at Months 9 (December) and 10 (January) of the financial year.


In attendance for this item were:

·  Cllr. James Lewis – Leader of Council and Executive Member for Resources

·  Neil Evans – Director of Resources and Housing

·  Victoria Bradshaw – Chief Officer Financial Services


The Board were informed of the following points:

  • This report covers months 9 (December) and 10 (January). Month 10 (January) was presented to the Executive Board at its meeting in March, this appended to the report at Appendix 2;
  • The Council has a budget of £525.7m for financial year 2020/21. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic there were Directorate, Council Tax and Business Rates overspends of £170.7m, plus costs for pensions and severance through the Early Leavers Initiative (ELI) of £12.9m this gave an overspend position of £183.7m. It was noted that this was being managed through non-covid savings, earmarked reserves and Government funding for both expenditure and income losses;
  • Housing Revenue Account (HRA) has an underspend of £9.6m which would contribute to the major repairs reserve. Members asked for additional information in future to monitor the overall housing stock;
  • There was a better position in relation to Adults and Health this was through early discharge and additional contributions from NHS. The Chair asked about the level of reserves held by Adults and Health;
  • The dedicated school grant deficit was down. An action plan was being developed to manage this in future years;
  • A report on the collection fund for Council Tax and Business Rates was attached at Appendix 3. The report detailed the impact on collection rates noting that there had been significant reductions in collection and how this was being managed. It noted that the Council had received grant from Central Government for loss of income.



Member’s discussions included:

  • Hardship Grant – Members requested more information on this to include how many residents had been assisted through the scheme. It was also noted that, in relation business rates, there may be more issues arise as we come out of the pandemic with businesses continuing to require support as recovery from pandemic begins to take place; Business Rate appeals were also discussed in terms of the potential for more appeals against the 2017 rating list in the coming financial year
  • On the under-spend on the HRA and the transference of money to the major repairs reserve, it was noted that this is a ring-fenced account and that money would be provided for council houses to be upgraded. The upgrades would include energy efficiency works to multi-storey blocks through the District Heating system and under floor heating. Members requested further information on this;
  • Members also requested further information in relation to waste Management and the PPE provision that had been provided as the figure quoted seemed to be quite high;
  • Members were advised that the HRA underspend was related to work slowing down due to social distancing over lockdown, if restrictions continue to be eased then there will be an opportunity for work to progress more quickly in the coming months;
  • Right to Buy scheme and the remaining stock. Members were advised that the Council still has 54,000 properties. The sale of council houses had slowed down through the pandemic, although as we move out of the pandemic there may be renewed interest. Members noted that there was a replacement programme and that there had recently been a relaxation in the rules regarding the rebuild programme which may assist the Council in delivering more new stock;
  • Members noted that the savings on transport costs were low and it was recognised that the figures provided were for Resources and Housing only. Members requested figures for all the Council and for more detailed figures in relation to school transport.


RESOLVED - To note the content of the report.


Supporting documents: